Boarding Report - August 31, 2017
author: Mike Silcock
As I write this fortnight’s Crest contribution from Boarding we are in the midst of our Boarding Leadership appointment process for 2018. It has made me reflect on a number interesting thoughts that I have had over these past few days. Firstly, I have thought about Leadership, it’s definition and the capacity of young men to demonstrate leadership potential. I have considered carefully my own leadership, given the importance of being able to role model and demonstrate both good and effective leadership. However, that in itself does not help us achieve a definition. Wallabies great John Eales was asked to comment on captaincy of a sports team – and interesting to note he said that it was not limited to the person with the armband. I would like to believe that my style of leadership is similar. I wish to bring together the qualities of all within our boarding team to deliver the best result for our boarders. It will never be my intention to simply dictate. My leadership style is to promote collaboration and foster the development of others. This is extended to our boarding leaders as I stressed to our candidates last night. Ultimately only two of our current Yr11 boarders will hold an official boarding leadership position next year, however I desire to see all of our senior cohort displaying the qualities of a leader. You will note that I have still not provided a definitive definition of leadership and I can assure you that that is deliberate by design. When I have been asked to offer some words of wisdom to our aspiring leaders I have always stressed the importance of being yourself. There is no single ‘cap to fit all sizes’ when it comes to being a leader and last night, when I asked those being interview later this week, to briefly speak to our boarders about being their Captain or Vice-Captain of Boarding it was pleasing to see their own individual personalities at the forefront. This leads to my second ‘thought’ – what do we expect of our leaders and how do we foster leadership development in our students? With regards to our boarding staff, as I have articulated, it is through collaboration and empowerment – well, for our boarders, I wish to follow a similar tact. This is their boarding experience. As I have so frequently articulated I am where I am today on account of my own enjoyment of my time in boarding – and if by inviting our boarding leaders into a collaborative environment, with the knowledge that their opinions will be welcomed and addressed, then our goal to create the best possible boarding experience for our current boarders will be achieved. At this time, I am also exploring ways to develop a ‘Leadership CV’, particularly for our Yr10s moving into Yr11 so that when this time comes around in twelve months and in the years to follow our boarders have experienced leadership and have started to consider their own leadership style and journey. I would invite any parent or guardian to share their thoughts and ideas with me. It is a work in progress and one with a significant goal in sight. The final observation I made was the calibre of young man within our boarding community. Yr11 can be quite a year of transition. There have been occasions this year when reminders have been needed with regards to expectations, however the growth has, to a person, been exponential and that is an encouraging sign. I can say with confidence that whoever has the responsibility of leading our boarding community next year will do so admirably.
As we glance towards 2018 it would be remiss of me to highlight the Boarding Reunion scheduled for Saturday, November 18. This is sure to be a celebration of all things ‘Boarding’ and you and yours would be most welcome to join us for what will be an entertaining evening. All information can be found on our College website.
Look after yourselves.
Director of Boarding
The past two weeks have certainly been a learning curve for me and I have been consistently impressed by the resilience, strength and capabilities of our boarders. I have witnessed young men develop their confidence, leadership skills and knowledge. I have witnessed young men take themselves out of their comfort zones to better themselves. I have witnessed young men put others needs before their own and not expect anything in return. I have witnessed young men who may have been struggling with the perceived restrictions of boarding, accept and strive to meet our expectations. Strength. Resilience. Capability.
We find ourselves heading into a very important and hectic part of the boarders’ journey. Some of our boys are contemplating their final few weeks as a student of St Patrick’s College, some are putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the end of year exams, while others are looking to make the next step in their education. At whatever point the boys find themselves, I hope that they are able to make their next step with confidence and self-belief, something they have gained from being a boarder here at St Pat’s.
It is such an exciting time for boarding at the moment with boys getting their first look at the rooms within the brand new boarding precinct. It will be a fantastic moment for the 2018 boarders when they first walk into their state of the art, purpose built, boarding facility. It is a real credit to Mr Silcock and the College builders who have been able to create such a wonderful space for so many future generations to enjoy.
Of a Wednesday night, some of the boarders and I help at the local Church teaching recently arrived international students English. The time away from the house in a non-sport or boarding setting affords the boys the chance to see each other in a new light. A stand out moment being recently when one of the boys started -without warning- to speak Chinese to the international students. Apparently at his previous school he had very much enjoyed Chinese classes. Once we all got over the shock the boys began to divulge other ‘talents’ that so far had not come up. With such a diverse community now in the boarding house; it is often full of new experiences and hidden talents. With the anti-diversity sentiments of others receiving more and more attention around the world, it is great to see that teenagers can still see the good in having others with different skills, backgrounds and ideas around them.
As we cross the half way mark of the term and make our way toward the home stretch I reflect upon the end for most boarders’ football and winter sport seasons and how with the end of those seasons comes a busy period in the boarding community, where for most nights we will be running with an almost full cohort at dinner times from the beginning of next week. I look forward to seeing boarding at full strength sharing a meal, sharing conversation and enjoying one another’s company, most nights, as the term progresses.
One thing to take from the period prior to this when I reflect upon the first half of the term is the manner in which our boys have at times been able to sit down as forty or more on rare occasions, particularly on a Monday night where we have a guest speaker and the three course meal is rolled out for our boys and invited guest. This has been especially enjoyable hearing from such interesting and successful people and almost every night without fail being able to have the Headmaster and his wife in attendance to enjoy the meal and conversation with our boys and invited guests.
I would like to wish all our Yr12s the very best leading into a most stressful and trying time and send my well wishes to them as they prepare for this exam period and hope that they use all the many tools given to them by the College to stay healthy and well prepared for what is ahead.